Jeremy Sasson pizza concept to replace Will Leather Goods in Midtown

Restaurateur Jeremy Sasson is planning to grow his modest portfolio of popular restaurants with a new concept in Midtown.

The restaurant will replace Will Leather Goods, an ornate leather goods retailer at 4120 Second Ave. that closed Tuesday. It opened in 2015 after a $2.5 million build-out.

Will Leather Goods owner Will Adler said the oversize space and lack of foot traffic caused him to close the location, but he's scouting for another in the city.

"I wanted to ignite something in Midtown when I moved here, but it was tremendously fun to bring the Tom Boy Market back to its original shape," Adler said.

Sasson signed a lease this week to take over the 9,000-square-foot space. He said his new restaurant should be open by the end of the year.

"The backbone of the project revolves around naturally fermented, sourdough-starting Neapolitan pizza," Sasson said.

Myles McVay, former head chef at Otus Supply in Ferndale, will lead the kitchen at the new restaurant. McVay was replaced by Nick Rodgers of Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake, The Detroit News reported.

Sasson said the restaurant will have a full bar and "many, many more components to come," which he declined to share.

Sasson owns Heirloom Hospitality, a Birmingham-based restaurant company that operates Prime + Proper steakhouse in downtown Detroit, Townhouse restaurants in Birmingham and Detroit, as well as Clementina Detroit.

Adler, who owns the historic building, said he and Sasson are planning to work together on decorating the new restaurant. There are plans to preserve the building's charm, including the wooden beams and rafters, and 300-year-old canoes. The company might also make leather napkins, place mats and other accessories for the restaurant.

"(Sasson) appreciates the feeling we've created in the space and wants to preserve as much of it as he can," Adler said, adding that the lease is for 25 years.

Colliers International Group Inc. served as broker on the lease for Sasson.

At its height, the leather goods store employed 10 people but only had around three after downsizing in recent months. Adler said those three employees will help with the move and continue at the new location, which he hopes to identify in two to three months. Adler owns two stores each in Oregon, Texas and California. He said he's determined to keep his craft alive in Detroit.

"It's very rare to find people still doing this anymore — it's an old-world craft," Adler said.